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Mike MacIntyre one of two coaches added to Memphis staff

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As Ryan Silverfield assembles his first Memphis Tigers football staff, he’s turned to a former head coach to assume an important role.

Early Thursday afternoon, Memphis confirms that Silverfield has named Mike MacIntyre as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.  The school noted that the addition is pending completion of State of Tennessee hiring protocols.

MacIntrye has been an FBS head coach twice, at Colorado (2013-18) and San Jose State (2010-12).

“Mike was the perfect fit to lead our defense,” said the Memphis Tigers football head coach in a statement. “Just three years ago, he was the National Coach of the Year. He is a Bill Parcells disciple with five years coaching in the NFL. He graduated from high school in Nashville and has deep roots in this state.

“He is a leader of men on and off the field. Coach Mac has nine years of head coaching experience and will be a tremendous asset to our program. He and his wife, Trisha, can’t wait to get to Memphis!”

Last season, MacIntyre was the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss.  He’s also been a coordinator at Duke (2008-09) and Temple (1997-98).

In addition to MacIntyre, the Memphis Tigers football program also confirmed the hiring of Charles Clark as defensive backs coach.  Like MacIntyre, Clark spent the 2019 season at Ole Miss.

For two seasons (2017-18), Clark was the cornerbacks coach at Oregon. He was also a part of MacIntyre’s Colorado staff, as safeties coach in 2013 and 2014 and cornerbacks coach in 2015 and 2016.

“Charles is a home run hire,” Silverfield said. “He is a very well-respected man and defensive backs coach. He has great ties to this region and has been very successful at every stop. Not only does Charles do a tremendous job on the field, but he mentors his players and develops great relationships off the field. It is always good to have another coach from the 904 here in the 901! We are so excited to have Charles, his wife, Kristie, and their family move up the road to join us here in Memphis.”

Duke RB Brittain Brown enters transfer portal

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When it comes to the ever-present portal, the Duke Blue Devils football program was the latest to see a player hit it.

A Duke football official has confirmed that Brittain Brown‘s name has been entered into the NCAA transfer database.  The running back will likely leave as a graduate transfer as he is on schedule to earn his bachelor’s degree from the university in May.

If that happens, he would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2020.

Despite such a recent entry into the portal, Brown is already drawing Power Five interest.  According to 247Sports.com, Colorado, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin have already reached out to the back.

Per NCAA rules, schools are permitted to contact players in the portal without receiving permission from the player’s current school.  The player, in this case Brown, could also return to his original school.

In four seasons with the Duke Blue Devils football team, Brown has rushed for 1,126 yards and 10 touchdowns on 222 carries.  His best season was his second as he ran for 701 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry as a redshirt freshman.

Brown’s last two seasons were marred by injuries.  A shoulder injury cost him four games in 2018, while another shoulder injury sidelined him for the last two months this past season.

Colorado football adds Ivy League grad transfer LB Brendan Pyne

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The Colorado football locker room, if nothing else, got a little smarter for the 2020 season.

Friday, Colorado announced the addition of Brendan Pyne to Mel Tucker‘s roster.  At least initially, the linebacker comes to Boulder as a walk-on.  He will join the team for the spring semester, the school stated.

“He’s a highly productive defensive player,” the head coach said in a statement. “He plays multiple positions; he could play inside linebacker or at our star position. I’ve known about him all the way back to his days at IMG, where he was a team captain. He’ll come in and compete for playing time. We’re very excited about him.”

Pyne played at Brown from 2016-19 and has one season of eligibility remaining. Because of Ivy League rules that require players to use all of their eligibility in their first four years, it triggered the Florida native’s decision to transfer.

A starter the past three seasons, Pyne led Brown in tackles in 2019.  His eight tackles for loss in 2019 ranks 10th in the Ivy League.

“I’m excited to go Colorado and to play for Mel Tucker,” Pyne said. “I always dreamed of playing in the Power 5, and I decided to take a chance on myself. I’m looking forward to being the best teammate I can be and help win football games.”

Pyne’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father all spent time in the NFL.  His uncle, Jim Pyne, was an All-American at Virginia Tech and played for nine seasons in the NFL.  During the Early Signing Period this past week, Pyne’s younger brother, four-star quarterback Drew Pyne, signed with Notre Dame.

On top of all that, another grandparent, Paul Harney, is in the PGA Golf Hall of Fame.

Even with all of that familial success, Pyne is carving out his own impressive path.  From CU’s release:

Off the field, he served as a teaching assistant at Brown for two Business Entrepreneurial classes and was a Digital Media Intern at the NBC Sports Group. He also interned for two years with the Sports Media Advisors Group where he constructed a marking overview on sports gambling and advised Duke Basketball on social media strategy. He also interned for Learfield while at Brown and he has also volunteered for the Special Olympics.

Apple reportedly interested in Pac-12 sports rights

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#Pac12AfterDark may be coming directly to an iPhone near you in the not too distant future.

In a report that is bound to have a significant impact on the entire sports media landscape, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has held preliminary talks with the Pac-12 to potentially bring things like the conference’s football games onto the company’s recently launched streaming service:

More recently, Mr. Cue met with Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott about the conference’s effort to sell an equity stake in its media rights package, valued at up to $5 billion, that includes the Pac-12 Networks and all marquee football, basketball and live sports programming that is fully available in 2024, according to people familiar with the discussions. The conference includes the University of Southern California, Oregon University and Stanford University.

Mr. Cue has questioned the value of a deal with the Pac-12 because it would only give Apple rights to some games, people familiar with his thinking said. He also recognized that if Apple ever secured rights to all of the conference’s best programming, it would need to show some of those games on traditional, broadcast TV to satisfy fans.

It’s not known how far along the talks were (or are) but the Pac-12 has been focused for much of the past 18 months on trying to find a strategic and equity partner in both their conference and its media assets. A company like Apple would certainly qualify for both as it has both the cash on hand and the need to both program a new internet streaming service, Apple+, and get people to pay for it.

Linking up with Apple in even a limited capacity would be a coup for both the conference and its embattled commissioner either way. Unlike their Power Five peers that have limited packages of media rights coming to the market in the early 2020’s, the Pac-12 will see it’s entire sports portfolio from football to water polo come up for grabs at the same time. Scott has often refrained that this is a very unique situation and will help the conference catch up quickly to leagues like the Big Ten and SEC, which generate millions more in TV rights now and into the future.

Who knows if the two Silicon Valley entities ever wind up in business together but the simple fact that a powerful company like Apple is showing at least a little interest in something like Pac-12 football is the best news the conference of champions has had in several years.

Colorado WR K.D. Dixon reverses course, opts out of 2020 NFL Draft

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On Dec. 11, Colorado wide receiver K.D. Nixon announced that, “[a]fter much prayer and discussion,” he would be entering his name into the 2020 NFL Draft.  Eight days later?  Never mind.

For now, at least.

In a statement Thursday, Nixon abruptly and unexpectedly reversed course, announcing that he will no longer be a part of next April’s draft pool.  Instead, and as he never signed with an agent, he will return to Colorado and play for the Buffaloes in 2020.

“After thoughtful evaluation and conversations with [head coach Mel] Tucker and others about my future in football – and beyond, I have decided to continue my college football career at Colorado, earn my degree and declare for the NFL Draft in 2021,” Nixon said in his statement. “I look forward to contributing to the Buffaloes next season and making a difference for our team.”

It should be noted that draft-eligible players have until Jan. 20 of next year to make themselves available for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Nixon was third on the Buffaloes this season with 35 receptions for 465 yards.  His three receiving touchdowns were good for second on the team.  A year ago, Nixon set career-highs with 52 catches, 636 yards and four touchdowns.

Prior to Nixon’s flip-flop, and with Tony Brown‘s expired eligibility and Laviska Shenault leaving early, Tucker and his offensive coaching staff would have been forced to replace 147 receptions (the team had 257), 1,936 yards (2,858)  and 12 touchdown catches (18).

“Our goal is not only to build a championship-winning team and culture but also to prepare our players for life,” Tucker said in his statement. “Our entire team is excited that K.D. has decided to continue his education and play for the Buffaloes his senior year. We look forward to him being a difference-maker on and off of the field.”